Location: Baotou

Waking up in the yurt was definitely a very new and unique experience. The group was split between being too cold all night or being too hot all night. Of course, due to our close proximity, we couldn’t really do anything about it at the time. Many of the other students woke up before the alarm and walked around before breakfast. Out in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, the early morning air is very chilly, but the sun always keeps you warm. After breakfast, we all hung out and walked around the fields surrounding the yurts. While doing that, many of us collected flowers and put them in a makeshift vase. Following our small amount of free time after breakfast, we all got bundled up into the van for our four-hour drive back to Baotou. We sang songs ranging from the likes of A Whole New World to songs originating from the soundtrack of Hamilton. Once we arrived back in Baotou after our long journey, we had lunch at a restaurant where we ordered at the counter, and we got to do our laundry for the second time this trip.

While doing our laundry, we hung out with the orphans, especially the younger ones. This is because of our little train excursion several nights ago, which meant that most of the older children had left from the orphanage. After we finished our service, we went back to the hotel for forums. For forums, we finished up the topic of our first forum, which was about why we had come on the trip. After that, we talked about communication and our different types of communication, ranging from if we were introverted or extroverted to how we react when we are angry. This forum definitely helped us understand one another and how we can get closer while still respecting each others’ comfort zones. After our hour-long forum, we decided to have dinner at the noodle place next to our hotel. As always, it was a wonderful meal. We returned to the hotel, and we were gifted an hour on our phones, which many of us used to contact our friends and family. Today was a long and tiresome day, but it was not only filled with laughter and jokes but also with a newfound understanding of one another and of the staff.